Census Workers and the Background Checks

Friday, April 23, 2010

Two job applicants with minor criminal records have filed challenges in court with the Census Bureau and their pre-employment screening process.

They claim they were unfairly rejected because the could not provide court records surrounding their settled cases.

Records are no longer available for misdemeanor offenses committed long ago. The two African American men claim the screening process is racially charged as the majority of applicants with these types of offenses will be black, Latino, or Native American.

The Commerce Department, which oversees the Census Bureau, declined to comment, but their spokesperson, Nick Kimball did state that safety was the reason for the screening process:

"Americans must be confident that if they don't mail back their forms and a census taker must come to their door, we've taken steps to ensure their safety."

The Census Bureau is expected to hire more than 700,000 temporary employees and will use FBI fingerprint checks for the first time.


NumbersUSA Develops Searchable E-Verify Database

Thursday, April 22, 2010

For those of you who are adamant about immigration laws, NumbersUSA recently developed a searchable E-Verify database. There you can locate over 200,000 businesses that currently use E-Verify.

You can use the database to find locally owned businesses who actively use E-Verify to insure their employees are legally authorized to work in the US.

Find the database here!


Department of Homeland Security Unveils New E-Verify Intiatives

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The Dept. of Homeland Security (DHS) and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced new initiatives to enhance the web-based system, E-Verify.

E-Verify allows employers to electronically verify the employment eligibility of newly hired employees.

The three initiatives include:

  • The streamlining of the processing of E-Verify employer misuse and discrimination claims
  • New E-Verify civil rights and civil liberties videos that focus on explaining E-Verify procedures and policies, employee rights, and employer responsibilities under the program
  • A new telephone hotline to improve E-Verify customer service

For more information


Checking Credit Under Fire

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

It is known that retailers acrosss the country lose more than $30 billion a year because of employee theft. Workplace violence costs employers over $55 million a year in lost wages. A whopping third of all employees provide bogus information on their resumes.

It is statistics like these that have raised the number of employers requiring background checks on the new hires.

However, there has been no evidence showing that people with weak credit are more likely to be bad employees or to steal from the bosses.

Eric Rosenberg of the TransUnion credit bureau admits, "at this point we don't have any research to show any statistical correlation between what's in somebody's credit report and their job performance or their likelihood to commit fraud."

Legislators in more than a dozen states have introduced bills to curb the use of credit checks during the hiring process, and as Liberty reported last week, three states have passed such laws.

"Bernie Madoff had a pretty good credit score," said Matthew Lesser, Connecticut state representative. "And yet there is this consistent message that if you have a bad credit score, there is something wrong with you."

However, credit bureaus believe that access to this crucial information is important for the business that wants to protect itself from catastrophic losses and should be used as a piece of the puzzles of an employees overall history, "not the absolute yes or no toggle switch."


Denver Public Schools Investigates their Gardeners

Monday, April 19, 2010

Denver Urban Gardens - a 25 year old nonprofit organization works directly with Denver Public Schools (DPS) to lease over 100 plots along the Colorado Front Range, including 20 public schools in Denver.

Gardeners participating in these programs grow veggies and flowers in fenced in plots of ground on public school land. The gardeners are being asked to undergo a criminal background check if they wish to continue gardening.

DUG coordinator, Jessica Romer sent an email to all gardeners last week saying that "being a gardener on school property is a privilege," and that gardeners are guests and must comply with DPS policy.

"My reaction is disbelief and anger," said Kellie Papish, who with her husband, gardens at Steele Elementary School, "community gardeners are a threat to children? Where did we go so wrong that if you potentially have contact with a child you have to have a background check?"

The nearly $16,000 cost of the checks will be footed by DPS.


DNA Databases and Privacy

Thursday, April 15, 2010

In a relatively new and questionable law enforcement procedure, individuals arrested for a crime but not convicted can be subject to the taking and retainment of their DNA, which is then filed in a DNA Criminal Database, regardless of the status or guilt.

"America's Most Wanted" host John Walsh enthusiastically supported the expansion of the DNA Database, "We now have 18 states who are taking DNA upon arrest. England has done it for years. It's no different than fingerprinting or a booking photo."

Many in the human rights community disagree. The European Court of Human Rights unanimously ruled in 2008 that the UK's policy of keeping the genetic material after the arrestees' release violates their rights to privacy and family life. The UK at the time had stored 4.5 million DNA profiles - more than 5% of the total population of the country - and 1/5 of the DNA information was taken from people with no criminal record.

Advocates of the database expansion argue that including innocent people's DNA protects communities - the idea being that the more information they have the more likely a sample left at a crime scene might find a match that leads to an arrest.

But DNA forensics is an art and science involving complex statistical calculations and careful handling of evidence. The larger the database searched find a high degree of certain, the more complex the results of that search can be.

DNA matching is based on the idea that no two people can share the same genetic profile. But in a 2005 examination of Arizona's criminal database of 65,000-plus entries - more than 100 profiles were similar enough for many experts to consider them a "match."


Massachusetts Unemployed will Continue to Receive Benefits

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Tens of thousands of unemployed individuals nationwide are poised to lose their benefits. Congress failed to extend the benefits before breaking.

But because of a state law passed by the legislature last summer, the unemployed in Massachusetts will continue to receive benefits for a temporary amount of time. If congress fails to extend benefits, Mass. residents can expect to lose those benefits on May 2. Nearly 500,000 residents may be affected.

"The extensions we have advocated for are vital to assist people impacted by long-term unemployment," said Jo Anne F. Goldstein, Mass. Secretary of Labor and Workforce Development. "Our claimants needs the financial assistance to continue their job searches - whether for fuel of food or to pay bills. Extensions help people get through the trying period of seeking a new job."


Protect Your Business, Verify Past Employment

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The fact that recent studies indicate that nearly 75% of all resumes contain some sort of falsification and that 89% are downright misleading means that a background check with a resume verification is in order for all pre-employment screening procedures.

An employer's lack of foresight can come back to haunt them. In fact, companies can be held liable for negligent hiring and retention. There can be public relations nightmares. All can be avoided by the due diligence, resume verification and education verification can head off wrongful termination lawsuits, it saves you time and money otherwise wasted by recruiting, hiring, and training the wrong applicants.


Sex Offender Records Permanent in Kansas

Monday, April 12, 2010

Kansas just passed bill HB 2568 that rules any convictions for the following crimes will be listed permanently on the Kansas sex offender registry:

"The attempt, conspiracy, or criminal solicitation to commit aggravated trafficking, rape, aggravated indecent liberties with a child, aggravated criminal sodomy, promoting prostitution if the prostitute is less than 14 years of age, and sexual exploitation of a child."

"Sex offenders commit some of the most heinous acts in our society to many times the most vulnerable. It is critical that these offenders remain registered for the rest of their life in order to better protect Kansas families, and i appreciate the swift work of the legislature in getting this bill passed," said KS Governor, Mark Parkinson.


Fake College Capital of the World - United States

Friday, April 9, 2010

Reports indicate that 810 diploma mills have been identified in the US and there are many more still under investigation.

California is the leading state with 134 diploma mills, followed closely by Hawaii and Washington state.

The report is a result of an 18 month international research project into diploma and accreditation mills.

The focus of the report was to provide employers with valid information about applicants' education to support them in hiring qualified candidates. The ability to spot a diploma mill helps companies avoid potential liability when clearing an applicant with a bogus degree.


Foster Care Agency Terminated by L.A. County

Thursday, April 8, 2010

The foster care agency that allowed a 2 year old girl to be placed with a woman who is now under investigation for the child's death was terminated as a foster facility by Los Angeles County in a unanimous decision last week.

United care oversaw 88 homes and 216 foster children and had been repeatedly cited in recent years as allegations of abuse escalated from choking, hitting, and whipping with a belt. In 2007 a child drowned while swimming unsupervised in a pool.

United Care was responsible for certifying the foster parents and checking regularly on the home. United Care certified Kiana Barker despite her criminal history.

Barker and her boyfriend were arrested earlier in March on suspicion of murder. Their foster child, Viola had been killed while trapped underneath a bed. Barker told investigators that she accidentally struck the child with a hammer while trying to free her. There were multiple bruises on her body and the child's death was ruled a homicide.

Barker had been the subject of five child abuse complaints, including on substantiated case involving her biological child. United Care knew of Barker's criminal record but did not believe it was a problem because she was deemed by state regulators to not pose a danger.


Number of Businesses Using E-Verify Rises

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

In a recent report by US Citizenship and Immigration, 1,000 new employers sign up to access the government program, E-Verify every week. Some of those signing up are following state regulations while others use it to avoid hefty fees associated with hiring unauthorized workers.

In Tennessee, the number of businesses using E-Verify has risen from 380 to 2,7171 in just four years. The state doesn't currently have a law requiring the use of E-Verify and a bill proposed earlier this year to do just that has been withdrawn.

"It really gives you the peace of mind to know that the documents you are getting from new hires are legitimate and were obtained legally," said Rachel Bragg from FreshPoint Tomato in Tennessee.


Prohibition of Credit History for Employment Purposes

Effective immediately, Washington State, Oregon, and Hawaii have enacted new laws prohibiting the use of credit histories for employment purposes including hiring, discharge, promotion, and compensation.

The provides exceptions for financial institutions, public safety offices, and other employment if credit history is job-related and use is disclosed to the applicant or employee.

The law establishes any violation as unlawful employment practice, enforceable through the Bureau of Labor and Industries and civil action.

We recommend our clients consult with their legal counsel prior to ordering credit reports for employment purposes.

For more information about these laws might affect you, it is highly recommended you consult with an attorney. Before hiring or performing a credit check on any prospective employee from these states, be sure you understand the laws clearly.


Dear Liberty....

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

"I had a great opportunity at a new company a week ago, but I realized the 6 month gap in my employment might look bad on my profile, so I extended the last position I had by 6 months and turned in my paperwork. I am a perfect match, this is a great opportunity, but the more and more I think about it, the more I realize this little lie could lose the deal for me!
What should I do? I lied and it was a stupid thing to do, but I'm not sure how to correct it. I might be able to contact the old company and ask them not to respond to any questions regarding my employment, or I can fess up and tell my prospective employer that I lied..."

Like the many hundreds of applicants who lie on their resumes or job applications, you're chances of doing nothing and seeing where the chips lie after the dust settles AND still getting the job are slim to none. The fact that you feel some guilt regarding this is a good thing.

You are very likely to fail an employment background check with the falsified dates. Even if your old employer agrees to not mention anything is also very likely to end up as a failed employment verification.

You should immediately contact your prospective employer. Tell them you realized you made an error on your application and that you'd like to correct it. Don't offer any further excuses, they will appreciate your honesty and likely not contemplate whether there was malicious intent behind the error or not. Good luck!


USA Swimming to Check Coaches

Monday, April 5, 2010

Recently sentenced to 40 years in prison for molesting young swimmers, Andrew King had access to the young girls through his position as a USA swimming coach for more than 30 years.

The King case exposed the massive shortcomings of USA Swimming and local swim clubs in dealing with coaches who preyed on their young swimmers. The coaches manage to jump from team to team, ahead of allegations surrounding their departure.

Chuck Wielgus, the executive director of USA Swimming said that it is his goal to create a "gold standard program for dealing with conduct complaints and abuse allegations."

Some say Wieglus' attempts are too little too late. In 2005, in a "State of USA Swimming" address, USA Swimming president, Ron Van Pool said that plans for a background screening process were nearing completion. The plan was not adopted until 2006, and placed the heavy burden of paying for the expensive tests on the volunteer boards at local swim clubs.

In the past 10 years, 36 swim coaches have been banned for life from the USA Swimming for sex abuse or misconduct, but the organization doesn't always notify the police.

USA Swimming is looking to implement the following strategies for dealing with sexual misconduct:

  • Anonymous reporting
  • Intense examination of how complaints are made and who handles them
  • How coaches, swimmers, parents, and staff are educated about appropriate behavior
  • Reinforcing to local swim clubs that is their responsibility to conduct in-depth background checks


Department of Homeland Security to Enhance Employment Verification

Friday, April 2, 2010

DHS announced that they are ready with new initiatives to "strengthen the efficiency and accuracy" of the E-Verify system.

They include a new agreement with the Department of Justice to streamline the adjudication process in cases of E-Verify misuse and discrimination.

"E-Verify is a smart, simple, and effective tool that helps employers across the county maintain a legal workforce," said Secretary Napolitano. "The initiatives announced today will provide essential information to workers about their rights and ensure that E-Verify is used fairly while bolstering the Department's efforts to protect critical employment opportunities."


Wisconsin School Moves Toward Background Checks for Volunteers

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Wausau School District in Wisconsin depends on volunteers for nearly all aspects of the education process - school field trips to classroom activities. The district is proud to have some many caring parents and members of the community willing to volunteer to be more involved in their schools.

But allowing anybody access to work with the children means the schools must have strong mechanisms for screening and checking on all the people who will be working directly with students.

Wausau School District means to perform background checks on classroom volunteers. Though these checks are no a foolproof way of protecting the students, they're a prudent additional layer of security.

"Volunteers in our schools are important," said co-Assistant superintendent Bruce Anderson. "We value their role, and balance that by having everyone who is in contact with children have clearance through a background check."


Background Checks for Michigan Tax Break Recipients

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Governor Jennifer Granhom ordered criminal and credit background checks for all business tax break recipients in the state of Michigan.

Last Tuesday, one such individual was scheduled to receive $9.1 million abatement, that person was a convicted embezzler.

The program called for is a "business integrity verification program." It calls for requiring tax credit applicants to answer an integrity questionnaire and agree to a civil, criminal, and credit background check in order to receive tax credits.

"We are fighting hard for every company investment that help us diversify our economy and create jobs for Michigan citizens, and this incident is wholly inconsistent with the work we're doing and the integrity of our whole process," Granholm stated.


3.3 Million Affected in Mass Idenity Theft

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

In what is believe to be the largest ever breach of secure and private information, nearly 3.3 million people with student loans became the victims of a mass identity theft.

Names, addresses, Social Security numbers and other personal data were stolen using a portable media device. The Educational Credit Management Corp - a nonprofit guarantor of federal student loans is location in St. Paul, Minnesota.

In a growing string of mass identity theft, last weeks theft at ECMC is just another incident. Earlier this month, a former employee of HSBC Holdings allegedly stole data on 24,000 Swiss private bank accounts. In 2005, an estimated 40 million accounts serviced by the credit card payment processing company, CardSystems were compromised.

ECMC services more than $11 billion in student loans. The 320 employees at the St. Paul headquarters all have key card access and their security is being reviewed.


Medical Information Theft Rising

Monday, March 29, 2010

Criminals have devised a way to have expensive medical procedures billed to you. They set up fake clinics to bill for phony treatments. Thieves may also impersonate a patient, and there are some medical workers willing to download your records to sell.

Pam Dixon, founder of the World Privacy Forum, a non-profit consumer-research group based in San Diego, CA believes the rise of digital records is a large factor in the rise of medical information theft, "Once the files are in electronic form, the crime scales up quickly."

Patients medical records can be altered to reflect diseases and treatments they never had. The thief may change the patients address so they will not be aware of the charges and changes to their medical history.

Medical Identity Theft is about 2.5 times more costly than other types of ID frauds, said James Van Dyke, Javelin president - because the medical data can be used for a much longer period of time before the criminal is caught.

The average fraud involving health information as $12,000 compared with $,841 for general identity theft.


Nurse Hides Deadly Criminal Past

Friday, March 26, 2010

Joseph Angelo Mannino was hired as a data entry clerk at Lehigh Valley Hospital in North Carolina in 2005 - 13 years after injecting his college roommate with a deadly cocktail of drugs.

He spent two years in prison on manslaughter charges. Mannino eventually became a registered nurse at the hospital before another employee alerted the hospital to his past indiscretions.

Lehigh Valley Hospital spokesman, Brian Downs says that Maninno lied to the hospital about his criminal history on both his job and school applications. A criminal background check was conducted on Mannino at the time of his hire in 2005, but it wasn't comprehensive and didn't cover convictions in other jurisdictions.

The hospital now runs national criminal background checks and Maninno admitted to hiding his conviction. His license was revoked in 2009.


Police Chief Lies about Criminal Past

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Fired by the Lewisville, Minnesota City Council last Wednesday, former police chief Dave Kleinschmidt had a criminal past and lied about his previous employment.

He lied to investigators about a car crash 2000 when he was a private citizen - that an unknown person had hit his car and fled, however, the person was a friend of Kleinschmidt's.

He was convicted of falsifying a police report - a conviction that was later overlooked when he was hired in February 2008. He was named police chief a year later. City officials don't agree on whether he passed a background check, the standard for all city employees. They cannot determine if council members were aware of his conviction before they hired him.

"The council has found that Mr. Kleinschmidt was not truthful, honest and candid with the council," the board wrote in a resolution to fire the chief.

City officials are considering disbanding the troubled Lewisville police department.


Dear Liberty...Your Questions, Answered

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Liberty received a great email the other day from a concerned employer:

"My current vendor for pre-employment background checks gave me an All-Clear on a candidate I screened in May 2009. The person has been employed at my company since then, but was recently arrested, ON SITE, for their active warrants!! When I contacted our vendor about it, they said the type of investigation we elected to implement didn't include the outstanding warrant! Of course, our company had no choice but to discontinue service, but my question to you is: How is it possible this wouldn't show up??"

There are many types of pre-employment criminal investigations, and they are not created equal. The type of search performed on your employee is not comprehensive and that is how records can be missed.

Many companies, especially in this day and age, choose these types of searches, called database searches, because they are less expensive. Be wary, often, when you're paying for less, you're getting less.

Liberty utilizes these database searches as well, but for very different reasons. Our QuickCheck search is a national criminal records search, but Liberty uses it as a pre-screening tool, a stop-gap measure that has the possibility to eliminate candidates in a matter of minutes.

Candidates that clear through the QuickCheck are sent on to perform a deeper more comprehensive background investigation that thoroughly searches criminal records from counties the candidate has resided in, and looks under any alias name we can find on the candidate.

Of course, that deeper investigation costs a legitimate amount more than our QuickCheck, but our clients know what they've got as soon as we do: peace of mind.

submit your questions here.


Pittsburgh Company Employs Felons for Fundraising

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Outreach Associates, Inc. appears to have violated a twenty-year old law making it unlawful anybody with a criminal history of dishonesty to solicit charitable donations.

Outreach president, Dennis McCarthy commented, "The statute was out there although Outreach operated apparently for decades without anybody saying anything. Ignorance is no excuse."

He went on to explain this his lawyers informed his criminals with offenses older than seven years with non-work related crimes could be employed.

10 employees with criminal backgrounds have been put on suspension. McCarthy pledged a thorough check of the company's 150 employees to determine whether anyone else has a criminal background.

The solicitors are provided their potential donors' home addresses and donation information, including the highest amount they pledged. Those who charge their donations provide the solicitors their credit card numbers.


States Reconsider Sex Offender Laws for Teens who "Sext"

Monday, March 22, 2010

It's national news now, when teens use their built in cell phone cameras and send explicit photographs of each other to other teens. It becomes national criminal news when those teens responsible are labeled as felony level sex offenders for distributing child pornography.

Phillip Alpert, 18, was one such teen charged with distribution of child pornography for mass texting photographs of his 16-year-old girlfriend after they had a fight.

A growing consensus of lawyers and legislators are starting to believe that child pornography laws are too blunt an instrument to deal with the new wave of adolescent cyberculture.

Last year, Nebraska, Utah, and Vermont reduced the penalties for teens who engage in "sexting" and in 2010, it is thought that 14 other states will consider such legislation as well.

"There is a lot of confusion about how to regulate cellphones and sex and 16-year-olds," Amy Adler, a law professor at New York University stated. "We're in this cultural shift, not only because of technology, but because of what's happening in terms of the representation of teen sexuality as you can see on 'Gossip Girl'."

Lawyers say that these cases are not what the harsh child pornography laws were intended for, however, some state supreme courts uphold the laws and penalties faced by the offenders, though young people are rarely, if ever, jailed for the practice.

One survey reports 1 in 5 teens engages in "sexting."

The laws themselves may be harsh, but some might argue that these teens don't truly understand the consequences of mass distribution of the private images of underage children. Their intentions, fueled by adolescent passions, could fall into the wrong hands, and the teens could be exploited unknowingly. The issue won't be going away anytime soon, and Liberty will be sure to keep you updated here at our blog.


Career Criminal Pulls of Bank Crimes

Friday, March 19, 2010

Professional criminal from Richmond reportedly helped steals millions of dollars from a bank in Brooklyn, NY. Afrim Kupa, 37, left blood at the scene of the crime.

Kupa and a team of burglars used a blowtorch to cut through the roof of the Astoria Federal Savings bank in February last year. They made off with 64 safety deposit boxes and more than $250,000 in cash. The total value stolen is unknown because safe deposit box owners rarely tell authorities how much cash they are storing in them.

Kupa has been involved in break-ins at banks and jewelery stores since the 1990s.

Kupa is being held without bail in the federal Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn.


E-Verify Cannot Detect Identity Fraud

Thursday, March 18, 2010

E-Verify is the government program that verifies employment authorizations of US citizen's and non-citizen's alike.

The system is fairly simple to use, though there are strict regulations surrounding the program. It has recently come under fire for inaccuracies. There is some indication, however, these inaccuracies are based solely on the fact that Human Resources representatives are not doing their share in verifying that documentation is legal and legitimate.

E-Verify is an excellent tool, but if an undocumented worker is borrowing a documented, authorized works papers, identification, and identity, there is truly no way to detect that they are fraudulent.

It is strongly advised that recruiters familiarize themselves with each type of documentation.

Liberty is happy to provide sample documentation upon request.


Missing Convictions, Why Database Searches are not Foolproof

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

It is always interesting to discuss what people do for a living. How we all come together from different walks of life and how each of participates in making the world work in it's strange and unique way.

I love being among a group of people that are casual acquaintances. Inevitably, the subject of profession arises. Pre-employment background investigations always receives a raised eyebrow or two, and the "wink" and elbow jab - "Don't pull my information! You don't want to know!"

I tend to think these types of comments are usually joking, however, one night a casual acquaintance had several probing questions for me. Turns out he was able to obtain a job though he had a felony level conviction on his record. He was probing me to find out how that could have happened,

"It's been so hard finding work since it happened, I know they did a background check, but I didn't disclose the information! And they didn't find it!"

The company probably ran a criminal "Database" search. Database searches are inexpensive, making them a great pre-screening tool. But more and more, especially as the economy continues to struggle, companies are relying solely on these searches to weed out former criminals.

But obviously, they're not catching everybody. Lucky for a few of the unemployed. When I asked my acquaintance the nature of his crime? Felony level fraud: Identity Theft.

He is currently employed at your local bank.


180 Business Targeted by ICE for Form I-9 Inspections

Immigration enforcement is on the rise. Over the past year, the Department of Homeland Security's U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement ("ICE") division has increased its scrutiny of employer I9 compliance.

In July 2009, ICE performed 652 highly publicized I9 inspections and 1,000 business and organization in the fall of 2009 as well.

Announced March 2nd - 180 business in the states of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Arkansas, and Tennessee have been issued Notices of Inspection.

This expanding enforcement effort reminds employers of the importance of the employment eligibility (i9) verification process, since even inadvertent paperwork errors may expose a company to fines, and intentional or neglectful violations could subject an employer to criminal penalties and sanctions.

By developing and implementing a due diligence program and utilizing Liberty's error-proof, paperless, electronic Form I9 for completing and maintaining I9's in conjunctions with annual audits performed by our I9 Compliance host, employers take proactive steps to improve their I9 compliance and minimize the risk of associated fines, penalties and employer sanctions.


BREAKING: Koch Foods Fined Over Half a Million Dollars in Immigration Raid

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Federal Authorities raided Koch Foods, Inc in a 2007 immigration raid in Fairfield, OH - just north of Cincinnati.

Authorities took in 161 workers who were in the country illegally at the Koch plant.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said Friday that the fines are in direct relation to the filling out employment forms and verifying those forms.

Koch has since taken measures to avoid future violations and states that there is no evidence any at Koch knowingly broke the law.

Koch was fined over $536,000.

Ask Liberty to find out more about our services that include error-proof, paperless, electronic Form I9 to avoid your own fines.


Nurse Hides Murderous Criminal Past

When Nurse Charles Cullen admitted to killing 29 of his patients in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, you would think Pennsylvania authorities would get serious about screening procedures.

Just four years after Cullen's arrest, another murderous nurse slipped into the area's nursing ranks.

Joseph A. Mannino killed a friend by injecting a lethal dose of medicine into a system. He was convicted of involuntary manslaughter and was apparently attempting to treat his friend's headache.

After receiving his nursing degree, he began working at Lehigh Valley Hospital until authorities there fired him in 2008 after discovering "he had not revealed on his application for employment that he had been convicted of a felony in North Carolina."

Mannino told the nursing board he couldn't get a job due to the felony conviction, so he simply stopped revealing it "out of frustration."

According to the order that revoked Mannino's Pennsylvania nursing license, "when he applied to nursing school, a criminal background check failed to reveal his conviction in North Carolina and he testified that he then believed it was in the past and was no longer relevant."

The nursing school Mannino attending, St. Luke's, began doing national criminal background checks on all students in 2008, a year after Mannino graduated - at the top of his class.

Since 2001, St. Luke's checked criminal records through the state police, who only look for offenses in Pennsylvania. Only those students who had lived in Pennsylvania less than two years were checked at a national level.

Though Mannino was fired once knowledge of his criminal past came to light, there were no complaints against him, and there is nothing in his patient care records to raise any flags. "He was dismissed for lying on his application. His work here was satisfactory and we have no cause of concerns based on his work."


NM Job Seekers Don't Have to Disclose Criminal Records

Monday, March 15, 2010

New Mexico Governor, Bill Richardson, became the second governor to sign into law a prohibition on criminal records disclosure.

The new law prohibits employment applications for government agencies from asking job seekers if they have been convicted of a crime. The measure covers job applications for state, county, or local government. Private businesses are not covered.

Employers may ask the question once they're face-to-face with applicants and they are still allowed to complete background checks on the candidates.

Minnesota passed a similar law in 2009. Both states took the measure to deter undue discrimination against those with a criminal past.


Do Driving Records Count Against Lawyers?

Friday, March 12, 2010

In an article for the Daily Record, the author certainly thinks so.

The author accuses mayor of Morristown, New Jersey, Tim Dougherty, of not property vetting his proposed municipal prosecutor, Craig Gigallon.

Albeit, Gilgallon has an extensive driving record of 2o suspensions in 20 years. He was arrested for driving while intoxicated in 2004. The license, however, show mostly short periods of suspension for failure to pay fine or failure to appear.

What the author may not be aware of is that most traffic offenses are not considered criminal offenses - even license suspension. Also, if a motor vehicle report is considered when making hiring decisions, most records only go back for three years - some states have longer or even shorter limitations than that.

The author argues that as prosecutor he will be prosecuting others for the same offenses, and that is a good point.

What do you think? Are driving records with extensive histories to be considered when vetting for lawyers jobs?


Don't Forget the Marijuana

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Lashamma Lawson went to the Dougherty County Jail on Monday, March 2nd in Albany, Georgia to pick up her prepared criminal background check for her new job.

Lawson forgot to remove the ten bags of marijuana from her purse before entering the jail and was arrested when her purse was searched.

Lawson was released on $5,000 bail.


Employee Fired after DWI Arrest

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

City Officials in Farmington, New Mexico are reconsidering the policy on criminal background checks after one employee was arrested in a DWI charge, revealing a significant criminal history.

Christos Derizotis, a court services coordinator for Farminton Municipal Court, was arrest on his seventh DWI charge on Feb. 21.

The DWI charge brought to light his extensive criminal past - aggravated battery, false imprisonment, criminal damage to property, impersonating a police officer among several others.

Donna Brooks, Human Resources Director for the city of Farmington said, "This will prompt us to do criminal background checks on probation type of people. We don't run criminal background checks on everyone, only those who handle money and IT people."

Derizotis drivers license was checked and revealed that the record was clean. The city also investigated his education history and check references.

Derizotis faces up to three years imprisonment and a $5,000 fine.


Pain Clinic Raids - Florida

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Three South Florida pain clinics were raided by Federal narcotics agents last week. They were suspected of sending painkillers along black-market pipelines to Kentucky and other Appalachian states.

American Pain - Lake Worth, Executive Pain and East Coast Pain Clinic - West Palm Beach watched as agents of the DEA, and sheriff's offices carted way boxes of records after serving the clinics with search warrants.

All three clinics are owned and operated by Christopher and Jeffery George - 29 year-old twin brothers with criminal records. The brothers were highlighted in a Miami Herald report for selling painkillers at a pace unseen elsewhere in the country.

The George brothers have been charged with felony levels crimes of theft, selling stolen property, resisting arrest, and possession of illegal substances.

No arrests have been made.


Monday, March 8, 2010

In 2000, a man named John Gardner plead guilty to molesting his 13 year-old-neighbor. His psychiatrist testified that Gardner was "a continued danger to underage girls" and he recommended a 30 year sentence. But, in an effort to protect the victim, Gardner was given just 5 years jail time.

When 17 year-old Chelsea King disappeared outside her San Diego home last week, police say she was abducted and raped by Gardner. He later dumped her body nearby.

Though Gardner was forced to wear a GPS monitoring device until 2008, investigators believe he may have been involved in the disappearance of another teen and a 22 year-old-woman.

Jake Goldenflame spoke out as a convicted sex offender, "It's wishful thinking to believe that simply by locking someone up for a number of years that it's going to magically transform him when he comes out."

It's reminiscent of the Jaycee Dugard case in which, though Phillip Garrido was monitored for heinous sex crimes, Dugard went undetected for 18 years.

John Gardner will spend the rest of his life behind bars if convicted in the Chelsea King case.


Drug Testing: A New Ball Game

Thursday, March 4, 2010

It is estimated that substance abuse costs the US $276 billion a year
Lewis Maltby believes that drug testing is a waste of money. He claims it's doesn't make the workplace any safer. "The tests have many flaws, including job candidates' ability to clean themselves out."
State laws can vary regarding the legality of drug testing. Maltby says most states allow pre-employment drug screens, but others don't permit a reasonable-suspicion or random post-employment testing unless there has been an accident on the job.
Illicit drug users report that they would be far less likely to work for employers who conduct random drug testing when compared to those who do not use illicit drugs.
- National Survey on Drug Use and Health
Maltby isn't entirely wrong. That's why more companies are looking to hair tests as "cheat-proof" testing options. Hair tests are effective in detecting repetitive, habitual use in employees over a 90-day period of time.
And despite concerns about state regulation, drug testing doesn't appear to be going anywhere. More employers are choosing hair tests, and random drug testing is up to about 12% nationwide. That's up 2% in five years.


Harder for the Young to Gain Credit

Friday, February 26, 2010

Those under the age of 21 are about to face tough restrictions for obtaining a credit card.

The second phase of the Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility, and Disclosure Act of 2009 has taken effect. The law was passed last year to curb credit card abuses perpetrated by the issuers.

In addition to limiting the credit card companies from raising interest rates and imposing fees, the law also limits the ease in which anyone younger than 21 can open a credit card.

If you're under the age of 21 you will need a co-signer over the age of 21 to obtain a card and they have to have a good credit score for you to qualify.

Credit card companies can no longer target school sponsored events, a place they traditionally obtained their newest, youngest, consumers.

Also, you will need sufficient income to maintain the card. The Act doesn't specify exactly what qualifies as sufficient income, and rules are likely to vary by issuer.

These restrictions are a positive step in protecting a young persons credit score, but it can mean many things. No credit history is not always a good thing - many times in background screens, those without credit history receive warnings or alerts and further investigation is often necessary to completing the pre-employment check. There are way around the alert, however, it is a consideration. It is a good idea to try to obtain some type of identifying information, such as opening a rental agreement or placing your name on utility bills to obtain financial history information.


Virginia Considers E-Verify

Thursday, February 25, 2010

February 16, 2010 - The state of Virgina passed a bill by an 82-13 margin that requires public contractors, state agencies, and Virginia based employers to use the government's E-Verify program.

The program seeks to ensure that any number of the 7-8 million illegal aliens in the United States do not take state funded jobs away from the more than 15 million Americans currently unemployed.


Crimes Commited by Criminals

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Each Wednesday, Liberty brings you Crimes Committed by Criminals, a feature intended to highlight the most important reason to screen for criminals.

Most persons arrested for criminal offenses have prior arrest records, and many have arrest records in more than one state.
(Federal Bureau of Investigation)

Mark Foster - A Knox, TN County school teacher accused to shooting two principals at Inskip Elementary School on February 17, 2010.
Foster's brother, Anthony Foster said, "There should have been an extensive background check."
Foster came background check came back clear at the time of his hire as a substitute teacher in 2007. The check did not go beyond a FBI fingerprint screen for arrests and convictions. It did not check Foster's previous employer references. Had those references been checked, Foster's brother, Anthony's email warning might have been found and the shootings prevented.


Massachusetts Parole Board Doing Positive Work

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Massachusetts parole board is faced every year with a dubious task - on average each board member faces 1,300 hearings a year - and they must make decisions whether to allow criminals to be released on parole.

Their job is not easy, though only about 100 of those requests each year are requested by second-degree murderers (1st degree murderers are not eligible for parole) they have to take each case seriously and one by one.

About 6,000 convicted criminals are freed each year to an astounding rate of successful rehabilitation.

Of course, mistakes are made, and the Mass. parole board is under scrutiny for the release of Corliss, a 63 year-old convicted murderer with a criminal record dating back 40 years. On his rap, a murder with remarkably similar details from 1971 to the recent murder of a convenience store murder.

Corliss escaped prison twice and violated parole three months after the board released him at the age of 60. The board used statistics to assume that most inmates at that age have long passed the time when they are most likely to commit crime. Corliss had proved to have no problems since 1991.

Board member Giancioppo said, "I think it's important to recognize we're in a risk management business, 95% of all inmates are ultimately going to be released into the community...there are no guarantees with human behavior."


New Bill to Verify Legal Citizenship For Mortgages

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Congressman Kenny Marchant (TX) unveiled a new bill this month.

The Mortgage E-Verify Act would introduce as a condition that any applicant for modification of a home mortgage load held by Frannie Mae or Freddie Mac, or insured by the FHA, that the applicant be required to successfully pass through an E-Verify inquiry.

E-Verify is the federally mandated program that determines if someone is legally allowed to work and live in the United States. Marchant said, "E-Verify is a fantastic program which I have supported making permanent for employers. Mandating its use as a condition for home mortgage loan modifications would help eliminate waste, fraud, and abuse in the system and bring integrity to the process."

The bill is spurred by a major Nevada case where a mortgage company/branch manager conspired to manufacture and submit false employment and income documentation for borrowers, most of whom were illegal immigrants.


Student Shares His Name with Bad Driver

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Michael Taylor is a pre-law student at Sacramento State.

He is 25 years old and the State of California is certain his DMV record has been severely tainted - enough so that he's been denied employment, his insurance rates have gone up, and all because his name is Michael Benjamin Taylor.

His name has been confused with the Michael Joseph Taylor who was busted in a 2007 car accident for driving without a license and not have proof of insurance. It led to a warrant after failure to appear.

Michael believes that only the suspect's first and last names, as well as the birth date, are being used to track his offenses. Michael has been to the DMV to no avail. Even if something can be removed from his record, something new pops up in a few months. He's battled this way for nearly 6 years.

After considering changing his name, he finally got the media involved. A local news team was able to correct the mistake at the DMV and prevent more mistakes from happening in the future.


30 Olypmic Athletes Test Positive For Drugs

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

More than 30 athletes have been prevented from competing at the Olympic Games in Vancouver.

Their names, nationalities, or competitive events have not been released yet.

Subjected to random drug tests months leading up to the games, pending cases were reported to the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA). Disqualifications can be positive results or failure to comply.

WADA officials have made it clear that North American professional league drug testing is not up to par for the national sports world. WADA Director General, David Howman, said of the state of drug testing in the NHL, "It's not as stringent as you would want. We don't know if there's a [doping] problem, but you're left with the suspicion that there may be a problem if you're not prepared to front up."


Teen Registers as "Sext" Offender

Monday, February 15, 2010

Philip Alpert made a big mistake. He got angry at his girlfriend.

At the age of 18, he took sexually explicit pictures she sent him and forwarded them to his entire contact list.

Alpert was quickly arrested on child pornography charges. Albert had to register as a sex offender, which in all likelihood could ruin his life.

Alpert's lawyer, Lawrence Walters claims, "Society is starting to recognize that maybe this is something different, a phenomenon we haven't dealt with before, but currently they're doing it in the worst way possible, by lumping these kids in with pedophiles and molesters."

While it may be true that the punishment far outweighs the crime, Albert can't live with his father - too close to a school - and can't pursue his dream of computer animation due to restrictions on the Internet, Albert did break the law and his actions should be punishable.

Albert is a sex offender whether he'd like to be categorized as one or not. And whether or not he realizes it, he broke a serious law and committed a serious crime. The law does not discriminate toward an angry adult man and a man who is not angry, but disturbed. They both distribute sexually explicit photographs of underage teens. The motivation is not necessarily relevant, and if the judge is making an example of Albert, I say, so be it.

These laws are developed to protect the innocent and underaged, not the adult men who knowingly break them.


Referees Need Background Checks

Friday, February 12, 2010

Salt Lake City public schools are having an intense debate. The focus is around legislature to enact criminal background checks for volunteer referees for the public school system.

They would implement a $40 charge for each referee so they could have the check performed.

Legislators are in an uproar about the matter. Rep. Brad Dee wondered, "Is this a solution to try and find a problem," indicating there have bee no previous incidents.

Other states have already implemented similar policies, like Texas. Referees themselves are concerned about colleagues who had inappropriate backgrounds that were known to the community.


Driving Record in Shambles

Thursday, February 11, 2010

45 License Suspensions

29 Warrants on Record

The Hazel Police pulled over Mary Ayers on Friday with an astounding number of infractions on her driving record. Police Chief David Niedermeier said, "She thumbed her nose at the system for many years, and I would anticipate that she will continue to do so."

Ayers is thought to have been driving without a license for at least 15 years. She has many traffic violations in other cities.

Ayers was arrested for the outstanding warrants and held while Hazel Park police impounded the 1999 Jeep she was driving. The plates were registered to a 1991 Pontiac Grand Am that hasn't been listed as stolen, but regardless, the plates didn't match.


Crimes Committed by Criminals

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Each Wednesday, Liberty brings you Crimes Committed by Criminals, a new feature intended to highlight the most important reason to screen for criminals.

Most persons arrested for criminal offenses have prior arrest records, and many have arrest records in more than one state.(Federal Bureau of Investigation)

Marsha Kay Hardy - In jail since late December for unlawful possession of a controlled substance, unlawful manufacturing of a controlled substance and chemical endangerment of a child. Authorities believe Hardy and other were producing methamphetamine in the home while a 16-year-old juvenile was present.
Hardy now faces charges of criminal solicitation to commit murder. From a jail phone, a police detective overheard Hardy tell her 18-year-old son to "put a bullet in their head," and to "cut her throat, gut them like a fish and dispose of the bodies in Florida, and do it quick and clean." Hardy continued, "if he was going to do the thing he said he was, to do it quick and clean."
Hardy has been in and out of jail since 1995 on escape charges, forgery, criminal possession of a forged instrument.


Marijuana Meatballs

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

New York Police officer Anthony Chiofalo was terminated after appeal for failing a drug test.

Chiofalo, a 22-year-veteran detective on the NYPD force claimed his wife spiked his meatball with marijuana, causing him to fail the test. However, judges agreed that the levels of marijuana in Chiofalo's system were inconsistent with accidental exposure.

Chiofalo's wife, Catherine, claims she smokes marijuana for back pain and told investigators she laced her husband's meatballs in hopes that he would be fired before getting killed on the job.


Drug Tests for Missouri Public Officials & Welfare Recipients

Monday, February 8, 2010

On Thursday, Missouri elected officials agreed that public officials and welfare recipients will undergo drug screening.

Lawmakers and other state officeholders would receive a drug test before taking office and again every two years. The officials are required to foot the bill for the test, refusal to do so - or to take the test - will be considered an admission that they are using controlled substances.

Those citizens receiving cash welfare payments would be tested if the Department of Social Services felt there was "reasonable suspicion." Refusal would render the citizen ineligible to receive the benefits for one year. Children affected by the refusal would receive benefits handled by a third party outside the household.

In October, Social Service Department employees who fail to report suspected drug use are subject to immediate termination.


Report: Background Checks Increase Nationwide

Friday, February 5, 2010

Workforce Management reports that the background screening industry has seen explosive growth over the last decade. Criminal background checks are becoming nearly universal with 93% of all employers nationwide performing some type of criminality check.

10% of employers report that criminal records lead to adverse affects when making a hiring decision.

71% of employers report that they conduct criminal background checks to protect their organization and reduce risk.

There has been some controversy behind the sudden increase. Employers using criminal background checks to make long lists of applicants smaller, to many, appears to be discriminatory. These employers are essentially using criminal records, traffic violations, or bad credit to make character assumptions, even when there the records are not related to the job at hand.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) filed a claim that employers rejecting job applicants based on their credit history and criminal offenses were exclusionary practices and are not indicative of employee performance.

In an online poll, 73% of nearly 2,500 voters agreed that the practice is indeed, discriminatory:



Crimes Commited by Criminals

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Each Wednesday, Liberty brings you Crimes Committed by Criminals, a new feature intended to highlight the most important reason to screen for criminals.

Most persons arrested for criminal offenses have prior arrest records, and many have arrest records in more than one state.
(Federal Bureau of Investigation)
Dorina Williams - 26 criminal charges on record since 1994 for shoplifting, resisting arrest, and assualt on an officer. Sentanced to 14 day program at the Women's Reception and Evaluation Center in 2004 and 2007 in attempt to break the cycle of crime. January 15, 2010 - Williams was involved in an altercation at a Wal-Mart after being suspected of shoplifting. Williams collapsed in the juvinelle section of the store. The exact cause of death is unknown at this time.


What Failure to Research Costs

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

In a strange case, Russian mail-order bride agency appears to have defrauded an American man, Kevin Linehan, out of over $50,000.

Linehan believes that the parent company of the organization, KGA International, had a hand in the disappearance of his investment, "I don't know anything about where the money went, all I know is it disappeared."

One of the corporate officials of KGA, Anthony Lawhon, denied any wrongdoing, "I absolutely, unconditionally was not involved with dealing or defrauding Mr. Linehan. He's a disgruntled investor...If he believes Mr. Nichols {another KGA official} did these things, I had no participation in it."

Linehan's lawsuit claims that Lawhon know Mr. Nichols had a criminal record for felony crimes involving fraud, but didn't tell the partners. Further research indicates that Nichols has an extensive history of fraud and embezzlement.

"Do you think I would have signed papers and let my money get transferred if I had known he was a criminal?" Linehan said. "Lawhon had a duty to disclose that were going into business with a criminal."

The cost of failing to protect yourself and your interests is just this, easily preventable possible fraud. Unfortunately, it appears that Linehan has a long battle back to obtain his investment, and he adds, he still hasn't found a wife.


The Unemployed to be Drug Tested in South Carolina

Monday, January 25, 2010

South Carolina's state capital is reading a bill that could affect some 150,000 South Carolinians receiving unemployment benefits. The bill would require a negative drug test to receive the benefits they need. Senator David Thomas proposed the bill, requiring anyone applying for the benefits to be tests and a then subject to random testing in the future.

South Carolina is headed into debt due to the large number of people receiving benefits in the state. Last year, they paid over $934 million in benefits to the unemployed and had to borrow from the federal government to make ends meet.

"They should not be expected to pay taxpayer money with this when that unemployment is being used for drug use," said Thomas. "It's actually meant to be helpful to these individuals perhaps if they are misusing drugs to say to them, nope, that's not what you should be doing with your money number one. Number two, if you're on drugs and you go to apply for work, don't you understand that you're going to be tested very likely in that place of employment and you're not gonna be able to get work?"

Other representatives fear such laws would push the drug users in the lives of crime, "When someone has no income and you'll see crime begin to elevate," said House Representative Leon Howard.


Social Security Administration Fails Audit

Friday, January 22, 2010

In a strange turn, an audit by the SSA's inspector general discovered that the department responsible for maintaining the E-Verify system has failed to check their own employees. It failed to check 19% of new hires in 2008 and 2009. Nearly half of the checks they did perform were not done according to time limitations set by E-Verify.

All federal agencies are required to check their new hires agaisnt the system. Federal contractors are also required to check new hires, and three states require all businesses check new hires.


How to Hire

Thursday, January 21, 2010

What do you do when your best employee relocates to another city and another job? You're number one sales associate changes professions? Or your lead manager left for lunch and never returned?

In either scenario, you'll be left in a pinch. In situations such as these, impulse hiring can be tempting, replacing a valued employee can seem daunting, and rash decisions are easily made.

To keep your head on straight during this stressful period, remember a few golden rules:

1. Know the position. The better you understand the requirements of the job, the more simple it will be to pull out the most qualified candidates. Re-think the job description and make sure it truly describes the duties expected and required of the job.

2. Develop an outreach plan. Target your job market effectively by utilizing the appropriate listing services. Job seekers are online, on social networks and looking for the best position available to them. You want to collect the attention of the best job seekers so you want to advertise the position using as many outlets as possible.

3. Screen application. You should have a stack of excellent looking applications and resumes. When it comes time to narrow the playing field, you'll need to weed out anyone who isn't an immediate match. Pre-employment screening is an effective way to do this. Conduct background checks. Call references, not just those listed but check former employers as well. This last step is vital to insuring the safety of your organization.


Illegal Immigration: Cracking Down

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

All Federal contractors are required to process their employees through the government E-Verify program. It is an federally maintained electronic database system containing Social Security and other records. Now, cities across the US are getting in on the act.

Dallas' city areas have begun to adopt new requirements for city contractors in an attempt to tackle illegal immigration. "I want people we do business with to show they're doing their due diligence," said Lewisville city council member, John Gorena.

Though three states - Arizona, Mississippi, and South Carolina currently require all employers to make use of the system, Texas currently has no such requirement. The proposal was met with some criticism and opponents concerned about getting too involved in developing immigration policies.


Make Way for Fraud : Falsified Employment Letters

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Kevin Sluga and his wife Leslie, owners of California Business Solutions cooperated with authorities and admitted under oath that they prepared employment verification letters containing false information. The letters allowed their son-in-law, realtor David Crisp, his wife, and their associates to purchase homes they could not otherwise afford.

The letters contained misstatements about the borrowers' employment and occupation. The letters allowed more than $12.6 million worth in homes to be purchase. The lenders themselves were defrauded out of nearly $4 million.


Welfare Applications to Include Drug Tests

Monday, January 18, 2010

The Nebraska government has a new bill in Legislature seeking to approve a measure to require all applicants for welfare to undergo mandatory drug testing to receive it. 22 other states attempted to pass the bill last year, but were unable to due to concerns about privacy and cost.

Sen. Charlie Janssen's bill requires Nebraska's Department of Health and Human Services to develop a plan to test welfare recipients and applicants for drugs. A positive results would mean a loss of benefits for one year.

Janssen said, "When a taxpayer gives assistance to somebody, it's assistance so they can get back up on their feet. It's kind of a slap in the face to the tax payers when they say, 'We're going to get up on our feet while we're doing drugs."

In 1999, Congress authorized states to implement drug testing for welfare, but Michigan is the only state to implement it only to have it thrown out be a federal judge for allowing for random drug testing, violating constitutional protections against unreasonable search and seizure.


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